Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Beyond Our Ken

The interesting thing about the sudden "Decent Bat-Signal" (thanks to Alex in comments for this phrase) that now is Fuck Ken Time, is that they don't appear to be endorsing any alternative candidate. Why not? A glance at the slate reveals that all the alternatives to Ken are politically ... difficult for the Decents to love:

1. Boris Johnson. This would be voting Tory, which is pretty difficult to square with "the true voice of the left", plus Boris is not exactly sound on Iraq. Furthermore, looking a few years out, they are going to want to use Tory scare-stories about "vote Labour or the kitten family drop-in centres get it" and this would totally undercut that.

2. Brian Paddick. On the face of it potentially quite progressive, but no way in hell are the Decents going to endorse a LibDem. They hate them worse than Methodists hate Baptists.

3. The Green, whoever it is. Unlikely, as the Greens are not Decent on Iraq or TGISOOT (although their representation on the Metropolitan Police Authority are very "sound" on the penalty-free shooting of innocent men on the Tube, fuck you very much, Jenny Jones). Also, they don't like nuclear power, free market capitalism, or many of the other hard-nosed, clear-thinking, manly fiascoes and clusterfucks which mark out the modern Decent Left.

4. Abstain. Unfortunately, a non-vote is effectively a vote for the BNP and RESPECT, as it makes it easier for them to reach the 5% threshold (RESPECT supporters in comments - don't even think of claiming that your sights are set higher than this based on support levels which predate the Galloway meltdown) and get a GLA member on the party list element.

My guess is that they end up either humming and hawing all the way through to election day, or swinging behind Boris, with a guffaw, a "Have I Got News For You" and plenty accusations of other people lacking a sense of humour. Boris is not at all averse to a bit of Govean mindless Muslim-bashing as part of "the greatest intellectual struggle of our time", and the failsafe prediction strategy in Decent political forecasting is that they will flock toward what they believe to be the winning team.


Blogger Captain Cabernet said...

Well, as everyone else has already pointed out, Boris's toleration of Taki at the Spectator ought to rule him out for the Decents.

1/22/2008 04:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Ought to" here may be the operative phrase.

"Critical support" may also be a phrase we hear something of when the time comes to make a choice.

1/22/2008 05:03:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

There's been a debate involving OUR NICK and the mayoral candidates. Details and videos here.


Also quoted (presumably from meeting) in the Standard

Mr Cohen said: 'The Mayor has no constraints on his power. The Mayor can appoint his own advisers. It's a very strange and undemocratic system. The job of the London Assembly should be to hold the Mayor to account.'
He criticised the way the current congestion zone operates and Boris Johnson's plans for live CCTV on buses.
He said: 'Half the money raised from the C-charge is used to keep the system going. We are not getting a great deal of benefit. The CCTV idea on buses won't work. People will be long gone by the time the police get there.'
He agreed with the principle of affirmative action but said the focus was on the wrong minorities. In his experience it was used to give an advantage through gender or ethnicity to people who were already middle-class.
He said that it was the working class that needed help regardless of race or sex.

1/22/2008 05:07:00 PM  
Blogger Alex said...

"Half the money raised from the C-charge is used to keep the system going."

Crivens, a gross margin of only FIFTY PER CENT?

1/22/2008 05:29:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

I think I might have actually seen the Decent bat signal. It shines of the top of the BT Tower in the direction of Euston station, or maybe the Oirish pub that's opposite. And I thought it was something to do with BT's marketing...

1/22/2008 06:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Boris's toleration of Taki won't rule him out, because not a single one of them has mentioned it. HP is now full of articles saying 'Ken supporters stop telling us that the criticism of the mayoral candidates is one-sided', but they've not actually got any comeback to that. David T admitted in a comment section that he will be voting for Ken, but instead of acting like the 'voice of the left' he claims to be, he like all the other Decents are running anti-Ken pieces on a daily basis. Not a single one acknowledges that there are any other candidates.

The lack of any kind of sense of humour in every single Decent means that Boris is unlikely to get 'comedy' votes - instead he is likely to be represented like so many others as a 'progressive' who actually represents the true left like all those cuddly neocons.

Also if Boris gets in then they can all start writing about Taki - easy way to more Decent wage...

1/22/2008 07:05:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

the top of the BT Tower

Indicator of age, this. I was in Brockwell Park weekend before last, from which point one obtains a view of what I naturally thought of as the Post Office Tower.

The lack of any kind of sense of humour in every single Decent

Well, quite. It's often observed that the Decents tend to be former leftists who have changed their loyalties but retained bad polemicial habits. But it's worse than that: they're former humourless leftists who have retained their absence of humour.

1/22/2008 07:53:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

I think it depends on the Decent. Here are my predictions:

Most will declare they are abstaining, but prominently campaign (on their blogs obviously, not in real lie) against Livingstone.

Nick will look for any pretence to support Johnson, but in a left has left me way. It'll be some issue that has nothing to do with the Mayor's responsibilities - grammar schools?

Oliver Kamm doesn't get a vote, so he'll probably defer to Finkelstein, who'll obviously vote for Johnson.

Harry's Place - I have no idea who still writes there. I suspect they'll heavy-heart it for Ken if it's the same old lot as there was at the last mass transfer.

The Angry Man - does he live in London? Can't remember.

Are there any others?

1/22/2008 08:25:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Harry's Place - I have no idea who still writes there. I suspect they'll heavy-heart it for Ken if it's the same old lot as there was at the last mass transfer.

to a man they are wanking on about their 'very strong labour party loyalty'. But that's being manifested in writing lengthy diatribes about how 'creepy' Ken is and refusing to answer who they're voting for until, pressed for the umpteenth time, they say 'i like the labour party'.

1/22/2008 08:27:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

We should probably say who we plan to vote for. My vote is Anyone but Johnson, but the particulars will depend on how close it looks like being (btw it's on May 1st, if you didn't know, and the list of potential candidates here is truly horrifying http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_mayoral_election,_2008)

1/22/2008 08:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The lack of any kind of sense of humour in every single Decent means that Boris is unlikely to get 'comedy' votes

au contraire, the lack of any normal kind of sense of humour is precisely what makes the Decents vulnerable to Johnson's schtick; in a Colin Hunt kind of way, they like him because they think he's the sort of thing that normal people find funny.

1/22/2008 09:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

in a Colin Hunt kind of way, they like him because they think he's the sort of thing that normal people find funny.

ah yes actually i was wrong on that score. witness Nick's vehement dislike of Chris Morris...

oh and who I'm goign to vote for. I voted ken first time, lib dem last time, but now that the tories have a vague chance of winning I'll be voting for ken with paddick as 2nd choice.

just as a thought - presumably Ken would not have had free rein to employ all these people Nick et al are so upset avout if the Labour Party had endorsed his nomination first time round...

1/22/2008 09:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nick Cohen's certainly flirted with the Lib Dems, indeed, he did it before it was cool:

"If I had a Labour candidate, I'd vote Labour. Unfortunately, I'm stuck with a New Labour MP, so I'll either vote Lib Dem or Socialist Alliance." - N Cohen, 2001 (http://politics.guardian.co.uk/election2001/comment/0,9407,494290,00.html)

1/22/2008 09:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And the Socialist Alliance were the pre-Respect SWP front, so he was doing that before it was cool, too.

1/22/2008 09:36:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

I shall not be voting, not being resident in London (or indeed the UK). I would likely vote for Ken or the Greens.

1/22/2008 09:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK, I give up. Wot's a TGISOOT?

Yeah, and I reckon they will mostly end up voting Labour - not Ken, Labour - whilst calling for the "rank and file" of the party to call Ken to account, take him in hand, etc.

Option 4 looks quite likely too. Any advantage for the BNP and Respect (all caps my arse) can be blustered away. The real problem with it, I propose, is that for people who spend their time shouting about democracy, having a vote and not using it IS A SIN!!!1

And the Colin Hunt reference is spot on.

1/23/2008 03:19:00 AM  
Blogger The Rioja Kid said...

TGISOOT = The Greatest Intellectual Struggle Of Our Time, ie the Decents versus Sayyid Qutb.

1/23/2008 07:58:00 AM  
Blogger ejh said...

I thought it was Sudoku.

1/23/2008 08:24:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"And the Colin Hunt reference is spot on."

It certainly is. Andrew "Wardytron" Ward at HP freely admitted to be rather fond of Johnson, and he was the kind of guy who found "Mornington Crescent" funny.

1/23/2008 10:46:00 AM  
Blogger Alex said...

Interestingly, given the sheer Decency of the War On Ken (Martin "That's not Dean Godson's dad...that's a...look! terrorists!" Bright; C4 Dispatches post-Durkin; Nick Cohen; von Kamm), there's a curious family vendetta feel to it.

John Ross was babbling about a workers' militia back in 1974 as a Communist PPC; the only other people that crazy then were - well - old man Godson's pals like Walter Walker, the UK75/Civil Assistance/National Association of Ratepayers/Norris McWhirter crowd.

Here we are in 2008 and they're both still on the payroll; Godson fils is a sweet and loving Bameronite, J-Ro is building skyscrapers for world finance, but the quarrel demands its blood.

1/23/2008 10:59:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"TGISOOT = The Greatest Intellectual Struggle Of Our Time"

*slaps forehead*

1/25/2008 01:28:00 AM  

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